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Teaching Literacy

Rule #7

Because there is a straightforward relationship between both orthographies, they can be taught simultaneously at primary level. There are various methods for teaching literacy.

A usual method for teaching literacy is the analytic method (also called the global method). Through visual memory, children learn to recognize full words. They come to make associations and identify elements that are the same in different words. In this way, they learn to recognize and use characters.

The global method doesn’t work well for teaching Inuktitut, because Inuktitut words are not fixed in form: in any text written in Inuktitut, around 90% of words appear only once.

We recommend that a synthetic method be used from the start.

Children study each character separately, learning to pronounce and to write it at the same time. With each new character that children learn, they also learn to combine it with the characters they already know. In doing so, they come to form entire words. Finally, they become able to read and write entire sentences, with punctuation marks.

  • In this method of teaching, the acquisition of literacy becomes a mechanical process.
  • The teaching has to be strictly progressive. One shouldn’t ask the children to read or write a word if it contains a character that hasn’t been studied yet.
  • It is good for the children to do dictation and reading exercises from the beginning. These exercises start at the basic level and increase in difficulty.
  • There is no need to use true words.


Step 1:

  • i ua ↔ ᐃ ᐅ
  • iu ia ui ua ai au ↔ ᐃᐅ ᐃᐊ ᐅᐃ ᐅᐊ ᐊᐃ ᐊᐅ

Step 2:

  • pi pu pa ↔ ᐱᐳᐸ
  • ipi upu apa ↔ ᐃᐱᐅᐳᐊᐸ
  • ipu ipa upi upa api apu ↔ ᐃᐳᐃᐸᐅᐱᐅᐸᐊᐱᐊᐳ
  • piu pui pua ↔ ᐱᐅᐳᐃᐳᐊ
  • ipiu aupa ↔ ᐃᐱᐅ ᐊᐅᐸ

Step 3:

  • ipi ippi upu uppu apa appa ↔ ᐃᐱᐃᑉᐱᐅᐳᐅᑉᐳᐊᐸᐊᑉᐸ

As soon as children know a few letters, they can read and write the words containing those letters.

As soon as children know all the letters, they can begin to read very simple texts of a few lines, containing only basic words.

These texts should be written directly in Nunavik Inuktitut (translations from other languages are usually poor), and should contain no errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Below is an example of what we call a simple text:

ᑏᕕᒃᑯᑦ ᓯᓈᓕᐊᕐᑐᕕᓃᑦ ᐱᖓᓲᑦᓱᑎᒃ. ᐊᓱᐃᓛ ᓯᓈᓃᓕᕐᑎᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᓄᕐᕋᑐᐊᓗᒃ ᓯᑯᓗ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᓱᓂ. ᐊᓱᐃᓛ ᐅᓪᓘᓂᒃ ᒪᕐᕉᓂᒃ ᐅᓐᓄᐊᓃᓪᓗ ᒪᕐᕉᓂᒃ ᓯᓂᓚᐅᕋᑎᒃ ᓄᓇᓕᐊᕋᓱᑦᓱᑎᒃ ᑏᕕ ᓇᒃᑲᖃᑦᑕᑐᕕᓂᖅ ᖁᐊᕐᓱᓂᓗ ᐃᑎᒐᒃᑯᑦ ᖃᖓᑦᑕᔫᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᓱᓂᓗ. (→ ᐊᖑᑏᑦ ᖃᑦᓯᑦ? ᑏᕕ ᓇᐅᒃᑯᑦ ᖁᐊᕐᑐᖅ? ᓱᓇᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᑐᖅ?)

Tiivikkut sinaaliartuviniit pingasuutsutik. Asuilaa sinaaniilirtilugit anurratualuk sikulu aulatsuni. Asuilaa ulluunik marruunik unnuaniillu marruunik sinilauratik nunaliarasutsutik Tiivi nakkaqattatuviniq quarsunilu itigakkut qangattajuukkut aullasunilu. (→ Angutiit qatsit? Tiivi naukkut quartuq? Sunakkut aullatuq?)

It is crucial that children acquire a taste for reading and writing in Inuktitut.



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